Argentinian football player Lionel Messi won the highest individual award in football for the eighth time in his career – the Ballon d’Or, which is awarded to the best football player in the world in the selection of the French magazine France Football.
The 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony took place at the Theater du Chatelet in Paris, and Messi celebrated in front of Norway’s Erling Haaland and France’s Kylian Mbappe.
After winning the World Cup with Argentina last year, the 36-year-old has long been the favorite for this year’s award, despite Haaland breaking the season’s Premiership goalscoring record and winning the Champions League with Manchester City.
The decisive factor for Messi to take the eighth Ballon d’Or was the World Cup that he won with Argentina, and in addition, he also won the French Championship and the Super Cup with PSG, scoring 38 goals and assisting 25 times in 54 games.
“Thank you to everyone who voted for me, to all the people who made it possible for me to win this award. To my teammates in the selection, coach and members of the national team. Congratulations to Haaland, Kylian and everyone. It was a spectacular year.
“It is a pleasure that will never leave me and I hope to enjoy it for many more years. This World Cup was the title that I missed. I thank my family, my wife who has been with me since the beginning of my career and who made it possible for me to realize my dreams. Without her I wouldn’t have succeeded,” said Messi, who admitted that he never thought he would have such a brilliant career.
Messi previously won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021. The Argentinian thus remained the player with the most number of Golden Balls, Cristiano Ronaldo has five, and Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco Van Basten three each, Klix.ba reports.